Primitive Race – Soul Pretender

3 November 2017

Christiopher Nisnibor – Chistopher Nosnibor

Primitive Race emerged through a collaborative release with Raymond Watts’ cult techno / industrial vehicle PIG in 2015, which was swiftly followed by an eponymous debut album. Conceived by Lords Of Acid manager / executive producer Chris Kniker, the band’s first iteration featured Graham Crabb (Pop Will Eat Itself), Erie Loch (LUXT, Blownload, Exageist), and Mark Thwaite (Peter Murphy, Tricky, Gary Numan), with a vast roll-call of guest contributors including Tommy Victor (Prong, Ministry, Danzig), Dave “Rave” Ogilvie (Skinny Puppy, Jackalope), Kourtney Klein (Combichrist, Nitzer Ebb), Mark “3KSK” Brooks (Warlock Pinchers, Foreskin 500, Night Club), Josh Bradford (RevCo, Stayte, Simple Shelter), and Andi Sex Gang. As such, they set out their stall as not so much a supergroup, but an industrial uber-collective, and Primitive Race captured that essence perfectly.

Soul Pretender marks a dramatic shift in every way. This is not an ‘industrial’ album. If anything, it’s a grunge album. That’s no criticism: it’s simply a statement of fact.

And while Primitive Race was by no means light on hooks or choruses, Soul Pretender is overtly commercial in comparison. Again, it’s no criticism, but simply a statement of fact.

It’s a common mistake made by critics to posit a negative critique based on what an album isn’t, without really taking into account the aims and objectives which made the album the album it is. So: ‘technoindustrial supergroup make an album that isn’t technoindustrial therefore it’s shit’ is wrong from the very outset.

Kniker makes no bones about the shift: Primitive Race was always intended to be a collaborative vehicle, and with former Faith No More singer Chuck Mosley on lead vocals and Melvins drummer Dale Crover on board, it was inevitable that Soul Pretender would have a different feel.

There’s a warped, Melvins / Mr Bungle vibe about the verse of the opener, ‘Row House, which is centred around a classic cyclical grunge riff that shift between chorus and overdrive on the guitar, and the 90s vice carries into the melodic ‘Cry Out,’ which is centred around three descending chords in the verse, erupting into a chorus that’s pure Nevermind Nirvana. And that’s no bad thing: it’s a great pop-influenced alt-rock tune with a belting chous.

The excessive guitar posturing on ‘Take It All’ is less impressive as a listening experience than on a technical level, but it’s soon blown away by the sneering ‘Bed Six’, with its chubby riffage and overall thrust.

The title track is perhaps the perfect summary of the album as a whole: uplifting four-chord chugs and a monster chorus are uplifting and exhilarating, and ‘Nothing to Behold’ works the classic grunge dynamic with a sinewy guitar and melodic hook. In fact, ‘classic’ is a key descriptor while assessing the compositional style of Soul Pretender: there isn’t a dud track on it, and the songrwiting is tight. There may not be any immediate standouts, but the consistency is impressive, and in that department, it’s a step up from its predecessor, which packed some crackers, but a handful of more middling tunes. Again, the change in methodology – a static lineup rather than infinite collaborators – is likely a factor here.

The album’s lack track, ‘Dancing on the Sun’, is a slow-burn beast, with hints of ‘Black Hole Sun’ trodden beneath the heft and swagger of Queens of the Stone Age. It’s precisely the track in which an album should end, nodding to the epic and marking an optimal change of pace. And it’s in reflecting on the overall structure and shape of Soul Pretender that it’s possible to reflect on what a great album it is, with its back-to-back riffery and explosive choruses. And did I mention force…

AAA

Primitive_Race_-_Soul_Pretender cover

Advertisements

Lost in Music: Christopher Nosnibor’s Picks of 2011

I could wax lyrical about what an exciting year it’s been for music (if you look in the right places), or ramble on about how, having been exposed to so much new music and having attended an insane number of live shows in the last 12 months, that it’s hard to remember it all, and it would all be true. But it’s also rather redundant.

Similarly, I could give a brief two-line summary of each of the items in these lists, but I’d only be repeating myself, given that I’ve posted reviews for everything here. In fact,. I’ve posted in excess of 400 reviews since the year started. Most of them can be found at Whisperin’ and Hollerin’, but there are others scattered here an there across the Internet, notably at Music Emissions and here on my blog.

Suffice it to say that rather than being designed to impress with my ultra-cool or right-on selections, these lists are entirely personal based on what’s stuck with me or impressed or excited me during 2011 – which is why the albums that will make all of the other lists, such as those by Wild Beasts and Kasabian, both of which I panned, aren’t here.

Gigs are listed in chronological order; albums are in no order whatsoever. I couldn’t really pick a favourite, and they’re all great.

 

Gigs of the Year

Tears of Ishtar / The Falling Spikes – Fibbers, York, 19th February 2011

British Wildlife Festival VI – Brudenell Social Club / Royal Park Cellars, Leeds, 5th March 2011

Interpol – O2 Academy, Leeds, 22nd March 2011

TV Smith & the Valentines – The Duchess, York, 23rd March 2011

Earth – The Well, Leeds, 1st April 2011

Hawk Eyes / Castrovalva / Blacklisters / Dolphins – The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 22nd April

Rolo Tomassi – The Well, Leeds – 11th May 2011

Unsane – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 11th July 2011

Melvins – Leeds Irish Centre – 2nd November 2011

The Twilight Sad – The Duchess, York, 20th November 2011

 

Bubbling under: The Primitives / The Duke Spirit / Club Smith / Alvin Purple / Honeytone Cody / Viewer / Her Name is Calla

 

 

Albums of the Year

Amplifier – The Octopus

Cold in Berlin – Give Me Walls

Take a Worm for a Walk Week – TAWFAWW

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

Gay For Johnny Depp – What Doesn’t Kill You, Eventually Will Kill You

Scumbag Philosopher – It Means Nothing So It Means Nothing

We Are Enfant Terrible – Explicit Pictures

OvO – Cor Cordium

Dark Captain – Dead Legs and Alibis

Mika Vainio – Life (… It Eats You Up)

 

Bubbling Under: far too many to mention!

 

l_6800219e0d5c452ea179984c6b3b8698

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk